A blog about the amazing things teenagers do, about writing for teens, books for teens, and occasional forays into my world and the world of publishing.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Firsts--THE CAR

Twice this week I put my life in the hands of my fifteen year old son as he learned to drive a stick shift. He's learning so he will be prepared when we turn over borrowship (NOT ownership) of his first vehicle, a Honda Accord that's the same age as he is. We've already started the countdown, T-minus 73 days until he has that all-important piece of plastic that says he's a legal driver.

Besides teaching my son (or just hanging on) I've been working on a car story. Naturally, all of this reminds me of my first car.

First let me give you a little backstory. My Dad was a mail carrier. There was a woman on his route who was blind and she owned two cars that had hardly been driven. One was an ugly bright blue Ford Maverick, and one was a red and white 1970 Cheville Malibu. Since she couldn't drive the cars anymore she sold them to my Dad. He bought the Maverick first, so that car went to my older sister. Then he bought the Malibu. For some reason, that neither my sister or I can explain (at least not in civil terms) I got to drive the Malibu.

It was a nice car and it was in pretty good condition when I got it. Not so much (as my brothers like to point out) when I was finished with it. But it was still a very cool car.

I have some great memories of the Malibu. Like the time I tried to follow a guy who was driving a truck into the sand dunes and I buried it up to the axles (statue of limitations is over on that one, Mom). Or when the heater got stuck on high for an entire summer. Or when there was a short in the horn, so whenever you touched the brakes it would honk. My boyfriend got pulled over for honking at a cop when he had to stop at a stoplight.

My mom still has the Malibu. My brothers won't let her sell it even though it doesn't run anymore. Whenever I go home I have to take a moment to visit my old car and reminisce.

Clunker or souped-up hot rod, I think we all have fond memories of our first car.

Now it's your turn, I know there's a story in there somewhere. Tell me about your first car.


  1. Oh lucky you with that Malibu! I had to date guys for cars like that one. :)
    My first car, a 1979 AMC Concord, four door, two toned cream & brown (which we called sticker wood siding) whitewalls (so my dad knew if I hit curbs) and matching cream hubcaps. It was a beauty you can be sure. It was the conversation starter with all the guys downtown cruising. It almost went into the front windows of two different homes (one with my learners permit, my poor mother) and the other.....well don't get out of a dead car to push it downhill. It went onto an off ramp on the freeway with a car load of screaming girls. The ceiling flaked like dandruff so you always put the person you liked least in the passenger seat and those in the backseat would hit the roof and all the stuff would flake into their hair without them knowing. It had five seats but could comfortably fit nine or ten and uncomfortably sixteen. It went well over 100 mph, and could take corners like a sports car, I hold some records in town with that car. It may as well have been a 4x4 and I never could explain all that hay underneath to my dad. I taught my little sister and all her twelve year old friends how to drive in it (they were NOT naturals at 16). Oh how I loved that car. But I do believe there must have been a crew of angels watching over me and a completely separate one watching over that car because I look back now and think I'm never giving my kids a car! ;)

  2. It looks like the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazard...

    I haven't even learned to drive yet, and I turned 20 day before yesterday!

  3. A "borrowship" sounds good. It's a great way to teach your kid about responsible car ownership. He'll treat the first car he'll own with lots of car, thus making the vehicle last long.

  4. Aah, the memories... I grew up in South Africa, and my first car was a white 1980 Mini (back before BMW bought them out). It was always in need of maintenance, so I have no idea how it made the trip from Johannesburg down to Capetown (just under 800 miles)--actually, wait, I think it had something to do with topping up the oil every 100 miles or so.

    Other memories include stalling out in traffic for no reason, the horn that sounded like a duck with laryngitis and somehow squeezing a chair and cello into the back when it was time to go busking to earn extra cash for gas. But I think my favorite memory is from when the exhaust system started to fail and leak carbon monoxide into the car interior. Unfortunately both window winders were broken, so we had a bit of explaining to do to the traffic officer who stopped us to ask why we were driving around the neighborhood with the door hanging open.
    Aaah, good times...
    Kathy M